Corinthian pottery from the 7th and 6th centuries BC is noted for its rich ochre colouring and its depiction of zoomorphic and anthropomorphic creatures. Animal friezes are the most common type of decoration on Corinthian vessels, depicting the usual menagerie of panthers, grazing goats, lions and birds as well as mythological creatures including sirens, sphinxes and occasionally griffins. In ancient civilizations of the central eastern Mediterranean gryphons were mythical monster with a lion’s body and a eagle’s head. The image of the gryphon had an important funerary function and its decorative use was widespread.
Corinthian Black-Figure Alabastron with Griffins
A finely decorated Corinthian terracotta black-figure small alabastron, featuring a zoomorphic and mythical decoration, including a jumping rabbit and two striding griffins. The griffins, a favourite motif in Corinthian vase decoration, are here presented in a dramatic posture with wings outstretched and with an expressive profile, comprising large eyes and a wide open down-curved beak. Facial and anatomical features are emphasised through a series of incised lines. Further decoration includes stylized brown rosettes filling the empty space around the creatures.